YORK, Pa. — Wendy Durika went into the 2021-2022 school year feeling optimistic that her son Josh, who started the 9th grade, would be able to enjoy his freshman year of high school.
"First year of high school, taking some great elective classes that are hands on," she said. "I really wanted him to be able to be in school, trying a new sport—he is on the football team for the first time.
However on Sept. 15, parents at Northern York High School received an email saying that the school would be moving to remote learning due to the number of COVID-19 cases. In a statement posted on their website, the school announced 19 confirmed cases with several more potential cases under investigation. They also identified over 300 students as close contacts.
The school will be doing remote learning from Sept. 16 through Sept. 21.
"School being closed for like a whole week was just disheartening,"" Durika said. "That's a whole week of instruction that while it will happen virtually, won't be the same as hands on, in person. I literally felt sick to my stomach knowing that school was shutting down."
A lot of parents and students were looking forward to the new school year and the sense of normalcy that it would bring. Now, with COVID-19 cases on the rise, some schools across Central Pa. have opted to go remote. It's a decision made with the safety of the students, staff and faculty in mind, but it may take an emotional toll on the students.
"I'm going to probably see an uptick in the anxiety, and depression again from these kiddos and certainly just feeling sad about that and not having those opportunities again that school does bring," Dr. Melissa Brown, a licensed psychologist at UPMC said.
Parents like Durika—not taking any days in school for granted.
"We're back to living on the edge of our seats and everyday that he gets to be in school is great and wonderful," she said. "Taking every day that he's able to go and be with his friends and do hands on classes and things like that as a gift."